The U.S. listing gap

Craig Doidge, G. Andrew Karolyi, René M. Stulz

NBER Working Paper No. 21181
Issued in May 2015
NBER Program(s):Corporate Finance

The U.S. had 14% fewer exchange-listed firms in 2012 than in 1975. Relative to other countries, the U.S. now has abnormally few listed firms given its level of development and the quality of its institutions. We call this the “U.S. listing gap” and investigate possible explanations for it. We rule out industry changes, changes in listing requirements, and the reforms of the early 2000s as explanations for the gap. We show that the probability that a firm is listed has fallen since the listing peak in 1996 for all firm size categories though more so for smaller firms. From 1997 to the end of our sample period in 2012, the new list rate is low and the delist rate is high compared to U.S. history and to other countries. High delists account for roughly 46% of the listing gap and low new lists for 54%. The high delist rate is explained by an unusually high rate of acquisitions of publicly-listed firms compared to previous U.S. history and to other countries.

download in pdf format
   (618 K)

email paper

A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the September 2015 NBER Digest.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Digest by email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21181

Published: Craig Doidge & G. Andrew Karolyi & René M. Stulz, 2017. "The U.S. listing gap," Journal of Financial Economics, vol 123(3), pages 464-487. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Kahle and Stulz w22857 Is the U.S. public corporation in trouble?
Backus, Blake, and Tadelis w21285 Cheap Talk, Round Numbers, and the Economics of Negotiation
Davis, Haltiwanger, Jarmin, and Miranda Volatility and Dispersion in Business Growth Rates: Publicly Traded versus Privately Held Firms
Mao and Whalley w17565 Ownership Characteristics, Real Exchange Rate Movements and Labor Market Adjustment in China
McKenzie and Woodruff w21505 Business Practices in Small Firms in Developing Countries
NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us